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Family LAw / Divorce


A marriage or civil union can only  be dissolved through a Judicial process.  The process starts with a decision by one of the parties to the marriage or civil union to end the relationship because of irreconcilable differences or irretrievable breakdown.  Once the decision to end the marriage is made, one of the parties must file with the court a summons and complaint seeking an order from a court dissolving the union and a demand that the other party come to court and be heard.  In most jurisdictions, once the court is involved neither party may substantially change their financial situations until the union is formally dissolved.  Once the court is involved the parties will be required to provide the court with a snapshot of their financial situation by completing a financial affidavit, and in disclosing to the other party, all assets held, the values, whether those assets are in the U.S. or overseas.  The objective of this disclosure process is to allow the court and the parties to make an equitable distribution of the assets acquired during the union.  At all times during the process the parties have the ability to enter into an agreement which resolves all of their outstanding issues, but in the event that the parties are unable to so agree, a trial will take place after which the Court will issue orders that shall be binding upon the parties.

Custody and Visitation

Natural born children and adopted children are affected by dissolution in a profound way.  In many dissolution actions one party may seek sole legal custody of the child, or seek to have the child live with them as opposed to the other parent.  In other instances, one party may wish to relocate out of state or out of the country, and may seek to take the child or children with them.  It is important therefore to understand your rights and obligations and be prepared to discuss then with your counsel in order to ensure that custody issues are adequately presented to the court.

Visitation usually involves one parent being able to have access to his child or children on a set schedule.  Visitation issues are made complicated due to the varying and ever changing needs of children, and the work and leisure schedules of their children.  Where one parent resides out of state or out of the country, also plays an important role in determining a fair and equitable visitation schedule.

Alimony and Child Support

Any dissolution agreement or custody and visitation agreement will require a fair and equitable provision that provides for financial support for the child or former spouse.  In the case of child support several jurisdictions have established child support guidelines which are based upon the net income of the parties and the number of children to whom support shall apply.  The amount of support to be paid to the custodial parent will be based upon the guidelines and other mitigating factors. 

Q.        I have been married for more than 15 years but my wife and I have physically separated for more than 10 years.  She lives in Georgia and I live in Connecticut.  Can I still get divorced in Connecticut.

A.       Yes.  As long as you have resided in Connecticut for at least one year prior to filing for divorce and your spouse has not already commenced a dissolution action in another state you can get divorced in Connecticut.

Q.        My girlfriend and I lived together for five years and we have a daughter together.  We recently broke up, and my girlfriend took all of the furniture and moved to California. I want to be able to have visitation with my daughter and I want my furniture back.  What can I do. 

A.       Provided that your girlfriend and daughter can be located and they have not resided in another jurisdiction you may commence an action in Connecticut for, custody and visitation.  Unfortunately, the court will not have jurisdiction over any claims to personal property. 

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Notice: Attorney Patrick G. Lyle is admitted to Practice Law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the State of Connecticut and is responsible for the contents of this website. This website is designed for general information purposes only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be either formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

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